The state government has decided to keep in abeyance appointment of about 1,200 teaching and non-teaching staff in four agricultural universities,a decision that may adversely impact their teaching,research and extension activities. These vacancies are more than four years old.
Sources say the decision was taken to avoid unnecessary burden on account of implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.
The four universities Anand Agricultural University(AAU),Junagadh Agricultural University (JAU),Navsari Agricultural University (NAU) and the Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University (SDAU) their affiliated colleges and the scientists at the technology extension centres are reported to have played a crucial role in popularising the use of latest technology in agriculture,horticulture and animal husbandry activities.
These have helped the states annual agriculture growth to rise by about 10 per cent annually in the last 10 years and bringing the state to a position of heralding a second green revolution in the country.
According to officials in the state agriculture ministry,there were over 400 vacancies in AAU,438 in JAU,200 in NAU and more than 100 in SDAU that were ordered to be kept in abeyance in 2009 and have not been filled up so far.
The authorities of these universities say the government did not allow filling up of 1,200 vacancies in 2009 when the sixth pay panels recommendations were implemented,on the ground that it would entail huge expenditure. It is also not permitting filling up of the posts that are falling vacant owing to retirements,they added.
Many agriculture extension centres across the state are also lying without properly qualified and trained personnel as a result of the staff crunch with the universities.
While Principal Secretary (Agriculture and Cooperation) R K Tripathi said the permission for appointment of staff is given depending on the need,university officials said they have been writing regularly to the department officials and reminding them about the situation,but to no avail. Only in a handful of cases where seats fell vacant after 2009,the ministry has allowed recruitment,they added.
The university authorities say they could also not hire the services of the retired teachers or staff following an order of the government issued in March this year.
There is also a limit on hiring contractual staff, said JAU registrar R L Shiyani.
The result of all this was increase of burden on the existing staff, he said,adding,We are managing the situation by working from 8.30 am to 6 pm daily.
NAU registrar M S Purohit said that while the teachers were somehow managing the academic affairs,the major problem was with regard to the administrative work due to shortage of manpower.
AAU vice-chancellor A M Sheikh also confirmed that the acute shortage of teaching and non-teaching employees had hampered the teaching and research work in his varsity.